For anyone who knows me, this will not be a surprise. From the time I decoded the whys and wherefores of the English language, if I wasn’t outside playing I was inside with a book (well, there WERE also board games and Barbies). It didn’t matter if it was my own book, a book borrowed from a friend, a library book…..they drew me like a magnet. I came by this genetically, I’m sure, because both Finch and I are voracious readers, as is our mom. One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the used book store…..and coming home with BIG bags of new books for pennies on the dollar!
So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve tried to continue this tradition with Jackson. I discovered that, even when he was only a few months old, he (seemed to, anyway) enjoyed sitting on my lap, looking at the pictures of the books and being read to. We had a good number of early readers that I read to him over and over again: Ten Apples Up On Top, The Snowy Day, Hop on Pop, Good Night, Moon and our family’s personal favorite, Go Dog Go. (“Up the tree! Up the tree! Up they go to the top of the tree! What will they find up there on top of that tree?…..A dog party!”) As Jackson grew, so did our book collection. We found new favorites and some little-known jewels, like Margaret Wise Brown’s The Golden Egg Book. This one is the story of a little bunny who found a treasure that became his friend. (Yes, this is a book that will bring tears of joy to your eyes.) Or, a book that we fell in love with at the library and found our own copy on Amazon: Herbert the Lion, about a little girl who ONLY wanted a lion….and one day, her mother brought one home for her from downtown! (In a hatbox.)
We also discovered Rosemary Wells’ charming series about McDuff, a West Highland terrier who is adopted by a couple (who later becomes a family). McDuff has many adventures, including one with a not-so-friendly cat!
Jackson was a very early reader, and I’m sure that our countless hours of snuggling and reading assisted him in that process. We read books off and on all day (between playtimes and naps) and before bedtime; we participated in bookstore and library reading programs. And, when we began to homeschool, we discovered to our delight that there were quite a few curriculum companies whose method and aim was to introduce as much wonderful literature to children as possible, via their school days. Bonanza! We used Five in a Row and then moved on to Sonlight. With both of these we were able to fill our days with wonderful stories that reinforced the history or science we were studying, or that were simply excellent pieces of literature.
We have had many favorites over our elementary school years. Here are a few of our most beloved:
We found Eleanor Estes’ Ginger Pye and several of Esther Averill’s books about Jenny, a special kitty belonging to a sea captain, delightful read-alouds.
Everyone’s heard of George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square; but did you know that there is a wonderful prequel that tells the story of how Harry Cat and Tucker Mouse became acquainted? Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse is filled with Garth Williams’ always-incredible illustrations–and your children will love this sweet story of friendship and home.
Red Sails to Capri is a wonderful historical mystery that touches not only on culture and history but scientific discoveries.
But I treasure reading together in our family. Not only does it indirectly teach good language skills and historical fact (at times)…but the power of story awakens imagination and creativity. And, when we do it together, I find that it draws us closer together with lovingkindness and connection.
Read with your children. You’ll never regret it!
If you’d like to see what other TOS bloggers in my group are saying today about their own Homeschool Essentials, click on the links below:
Erica @ Be The One
Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story
Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessings
Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews
Michelle @ Delightful Learning
Sharon @ Life with the Tribe
Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Heather @ Principled Academy
…or visit Schoolhouse Review Crew (by clicking on the banner), to see all 90 blogs!